Today we got the chance to visit a primary care facility and a public hospital in the Tigre Islands. A fun fact about why they are called the Tigre Islands is that when looking at them from an aerial view they look like a tiger. Our day started with a very cool boat ride to the primary care facility which was in a very remote location along a river bank. It was very cool to see that a facility was up and running in such a remote location along a river bank. After our visit to the primary care unit we enjoyed a nice boat ride back, a great lunch at the Tigre Boat Club and a trip to the Tigre Artisan Market. After lunch, we received a tour of the Tigre public, municipal hospital that focused on birthing and infant care.
Today we learned that Tigre has established a very successful municipal care program for its surrounding community. The network of islands in the Tigre area has done very well off of it’s 23 primary care units. The geography of the islands has forced the municipality to set up several primary care facilities instead of a large hospital because it would be hard for everyone in the municipality to have equal access. Instead a large portion of the municipality’s funds have been transferred to making the primary care units as effective as possible in terms of care and treatment as well as prevention from having to visit a provincial hospital which can be very far and not up to date.
The primary health care facility we visited today supported over half of the island. The Tigre municipality has become so successful through a great deal of funding especially compared to other municipalities and provinces. The primary care facility of Tigre had several more funds to cover whatever the national and provincial health programs already did not thanks to a wealthy municipality. For example, 98 percent of the municipality’s funding came from itself while only two percent came from provincial and national programs. Due to the municipality’s wealth they were able to fund poor island communities and give them the same proper and adequate care. Tigre’s success also hails from their emphasis on primary care. In a sense, Tigre emphasizes limiting problems or preventing them before they occur. As we found today, a health care system is most effective when primary care is emphasized, preventing more serious cases for patients resulting in hospital visits. Tigre actually took advantage of their geography by funding several primary care units well enough to make care accessible to all citizens and prevent long travel to hospitals by keeping patients healthy and not letting any symptoms get them to that point. With funding focused on primary care units Tigre can assure quality for all citizens no matter if they live on the wealthier mainland or less wealthy islands.
The benefits of Tigre’s system are very simple. Tigre is able to address all health problems at the root in the primary care units before most escalate and lead patients into the hospital. In fact, today at the primary care unit we learned that they deal with almost all cases for patients except for the extreme ones that require being sent to a hospital like “being struck by lightning”. This system allows equal care for all citizens at a much more appropriate proximity for them as well. A system of several hospitals in the Tigre would not be as efficient because they primary care units can handle well over the majority of the medical cases that a large hospital would face and it would be much more convenient for the people travel wise. It would also be convenient for the staff having to serve less people at several primary care units rather than a few large hospitals. The large amount of primary care units in the Tigre are much more efficient in terms of time and resources for not only the people but also the medical staff.